Tag: Florida Marlins

Miami Marlins: 9 Bold Moves That Will Make the Team a Legit Contender

The Miami Marlins—and just about every team—have been really quiet during the Hot Stove season. There has been loads of sizzle, but not enough to bring out and chew on just yet. The Marlins are the lone team expected to deliver on being the winner of the Hot Stove season. 

They’ve wined and dined a handful of free agents, which include Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle (although he skipped that and just toured the new ballpark) and most recently, CJ Wilson, who is expected to visit the Marlins brass during Thanksgiving weekend. 

The market for the areas of need (starting pitching, third base and center field) is scarce, and thus, I expect the Marlins to pull off some trades to fill the voids. Already, the team has engaged in trade talks with the Oakland A’s regarding ace southpaw Gio Gonzalez and has expressed interest in the Rays’ James Shields. 

With the peak of the Hot Stove (winter meetings) a couple of weeks away and the lack of moves made on the Marlins’ end of things (Wade LeBlanc trade is very minimal), I’ve decided to play the role of general manager for the remainder of the offseason. I will investigate what moves are realistic under the parameters of the payroll, whatever that may be, that would put the Miami Marlins on the map. 

Now mind you, this payroll will be quite inflated from the estimated ballpark of $80 million that most predicted a mere two months ago. However, if the Marlins end up with the roster I’m about to reveal, I bet they proudly proclaim they will reach the World Series rather than making it the goal of the future. 

Here we go. These are the nine moves that will truly complete the remodeling of the Marlins from the frugal Florida team to an aggressive, money-spending Miami franchise. 

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2012 MLB Offseason: Florida Marlins Fielding Breakdown

The Florida Marlins (or Miami Marlins as they will be next season) have traditionally been a poor fielding team. Simply put, they’ve had to pinch pennies wherever possible and fielding became one of those areas they were willing to sacrifice. Even their stars were subpar defenders. Heck, their double play combination, until this season, was arguably the worst double play combination in baseball. When Mike Jacobs was the first baseman, their Tinkers to Evers to Chance was known as the happy lexicon. 

Some of that changed this season, but the team lost Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson for good parts of the season. Then, there was the Logan Morrison and Wes Helms controversy in the middle of the season. Helms was cut and Morrison sent down to the minors. Sending down the player second on the team in OPS was a hard sell to the media. Still, the club moves into the new stadium and a modicum of dedication to fielding has them at least in the average range.

DER: .694 (14th)

RA: 702 (16th)

FLD%: .985 (11th)

Baseball Reference: -7 Runs (21st)

Fangraphs: -5.5 runs (16th)

Fielding Bible: -9 runs (20th)

Baseball Prospectus: 18.0 runs (4th)

Composite Runs: -0.9 runs

The Marlins have traditionally been poor, but their DER and composite runs show a mediocre fielding team. Sure, a healthy Hanley Ramirez would have turned out badly, but with a change here and there this team could become good offensively.

Best Fielder

It’s a shock, but Mike Stanton is more than just a guy that can hit the ball a real long way. He was very underrated as a fielder this past season. Hopefully he will start getting his just due as an all-around player.

Worst Fielder

Hanley Ramirez is as dynamic an offensive force as any player in the game, but he simply cannot play shortstop adequately. He has enough offense to be shifted to almost any position without losing a great deal of value. Maybe playing a little second base would be better than what he is doing right now.

Possible Changes

The Marlins are a team in a constant state of change. This year, there could be changes at third base and center field. If the club deals Logan Morrison, there will be an additional change to that mysterious list. I don’t know how much more money they will have to spend, but the new ballpark will provide some additional funds.

2012 Overview

They elevated themselves from pitiful to mediocre in one season. If they choose the right guys to fill those holes on the defensive end, they could become one of the better fielding teams in the league. It will take a lot less than you think.

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Florida Marlins: 5 People the Marlins Must Drop in Order to Succeed in 2012

With a young team, a pair of superstars and a new stadium set to open in 2012, the Florida Marlins are poised to begin a new chapter in their short but illustrious history. 

While the 2011 season was set to be a year full of promise, the young Marlins could not live up to the weight of their own early season expectations and squandered the chance to be in the Wildcard chase with a historically bad month of June.

In retrospect, it’s obvious that while the team has some legitimately talented pieces in Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez to build around, with top prospect Matt Dominguez on the way, there’s still quite a few holes the franchise needs to plug before taking the next step.

Here’s a few folks who should probably be thrown overboard if the Miami faithful wants to see their boys bring home a third World Series title.

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Florida Marlins Logo: What Other Changes Do Marlins Need To Make?

We’ve all seen it by now.

The horrific, rainbow, prism-like logo that will be donned on the Miami Marlins new jerseys next season.

It’s tough to defend a team that goes out of their way to brutally deface the game of baseball the way the Marlins have with this logo.

A better question is how can they fix it?

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Florida Marlins: 5 Reasons Management Is Finally Serious

The Florida Marlins are well-known for dealing players such as Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera, Gary Sheffield and Edgar Renteria.

In fact, tracing back to 2004, the Marlins have been talking about becoming a spender once the new ballpark is constructed.

Unfortunately, despite placing clauses in player contracts such as Mike Lowell, the deal was delayed and the Marlins continued to gut the roster of talent throughout the years.

Surprisingly, there have been five moves during 2011 that indicate that the Marlins may finally be dedicated to build a contender for years. 

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Florida Marlins Brings Back Alfredo Amezaga in Time of Need

In their time of need, the Florida Marlins have called on the services of an old friend to aid in their cause. In a trade with the Colorado Rockies, the Marlins reacquired super utility infielder Alfredo Amezaga to start in second base and take infielder Omar Infante’s place in the lineup.

Alfredo Amezaga was the original Emilio Bonifacio from 2006-2008, when he practically played every position in the infield and was also the starting center fielder in parts of three seasons. Amezaga appeared in 417 games and finished with a .259 average, eight homers, 86 RBI and 49 stolen bases.

The 2009 and 2010 seasons were wasted on two knee injuries that needed extensive recovery.

Now, while shortstop Hanley Ramirez and second baseman Omar Infante are recovering from injuries, Emilio Bonifacio and Alfredo Amezaga are now teaming up in the middle infield and top of the order.

Their speed could keep the Florida Marlins afloat in August.

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Florida Marlins: How to Address Their Current Offensive Situation

The Marlins are clearly in a rough patch. These past few days they have been on a horrible losing streak, based mainly on the fact that they are not knocking in runs.

The pitching hasn’t been stellar, but it certainly hasn’t been bad. Statistically the Marlins have been strong in the pitching department, but lately their woes have had a lot to do with their offense.

Since their three-game sweep against the San Francisco Giants, the Marlins have gone 19-for-111 with runners in scoring position (RISP), for a .197 batting average. 

This offensive drought has motivated management to fire hitting coach John Mallee and replace him with former big-leaguer and ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez.

The hitting coach could be a solution to this problem, but there are many other factors that are causing this drought, and one of them is the third base position.

The Marlins have been in a very tough spot regarding their third base position. It was thought that young Matt Dominguez would take the hot corner, but due to a poor spring, the organization felt that he  needed more seasoning in the minors. All of the sudden Dominguez got injured, and the Marlins were left with a rotating third base between Emilio Bonifacio and Gregg Dobbs.

The Marlins are in need of a third baseman, not to discredit Boni or Dobbs. But Florida needs consistency in their lineup, and neither of these players are capable of that. 

In order to fill that gap, it was suggested that the Marlins dip into the trading block and possibly make a run for Aramis Ramirez or David Wright. Unfortunately neither of these players are viable options. Ramirez is having a very poor year and the asking price for him is very high. Meanwhile, Wright is also having a subpar year and the idea of acquiring him from a division rival would probably make this trade a lot less likely to happen.

Even If the Marlins are going to make trades, it’s important to recognize that the Marlins farm system is dry. There are no big prospects that can be used as trade bait, so don’t be expecting a big deal anytime soon.

So with the lack of third baseman in the Majors and a weak farm system, where does this leave the Marlins?

The answer to this question is harsh and people may not like to hear it; but the Marlins are going to be offensively subpar for the rest of the season. However, there is a bright side to this and its that Hanley Ramirez is coming off the disabled list soon.

Even so, the only thing that the Marlins can do right now is make amends with what they’ve got, and they do have a lot of talent. But they have an inconsistent lineup that needs to be addressed soon in order for the Marlins to continue what has been so far a strong season.

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Florida Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria Shows Admiration for a Celebrity Staff

In a matter of a couple of weeks, the Marlins have driven their winning vehicle off course and are struggling to bring it back on the road as the team is in a tailspin with eight consecutive losses that includes back to back sweeps at home. 

Enter knee-jerk reaction owner Jeffrey Loria, who couldn’t continue watching such losses from his home plate seat near the Marlins dugout. 

The Marlins owner ordered the firing of hitting coach John Mallee Wednesday after a six-game skid that happened primarily because of Hanley Ramirez’s absence from the lineup. Of course, many would argue that Ramirez’s struggles are the main reason for Mallee’s firing and the skid gave Loria the ammunition for a move. 

The Marlins replaced Mallee, an experienced coach, with one with no major league coaching experience—although he is a former major leaguer—in Eduardo Perez, now former analyst with ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. 

But more to the point that Loria is craving for more famous faces amongst his already loaded staff that includes Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez and former Marlins manager Jack McKeon. 

We can’t help but look back at last year’s attempts at such celebrity status for the managerial role. 

He tried to woo his old pal Bobby Valentine into managing the Florida Marlins, twice. The first attempt came after the 2009 season which the team had its third best season in franchise history with an 87-75 record, but he was talked out of it by his front office. The second came after firing Fredi Gonzalez, but Loria failed to meet Valentine’s salary demands and perhaps possible control of the team. 

With the Valentine bridge burned, the Marlins tried to target White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen into coming back to Miami, where he once was the third base coach when the team last won the World Series in 2003. But when the White Sox demanded Logan Morrison as compensation for negotiating with Guillen, that bridge all but collapsed. 

So what’s behind Loria’s craving for a “celebrity” staff? Well, in a nutshell, it’s an attempt to get the Marlins more recognized amongst the fans to get them to come to the ballpark. 

Since the team doesn’t enjoy spending big on players, it’s solution seems to be tied to hiring big names on the other side of the baseball spectrum. 

Nevertheless, the players aren’t taking his latest move easy with Logan Morrison calling out Loria for firing Mallee. 

“They felt Mallee had to go,” Morrison said. “I don’t feel that way. He’s there from day one. He got me to the big leagues. I was a 22nd rounder for a reason. I made the big leagues for a reason, and he was in between that time.”

Asked if he felt Loria was responsible for Mallee’s firing, Morrison told reporters, “Absolutely. 100 percent. You know it was. I’m sure he’ll tell you that, too.”

This isn’t a good way to go about business and Loria better not be thinking about firing Edwin Rodriguez during the season but that’s likely not to happen since he is on a one year leash, a leash many suspect will be cut in order to make way for a big name manager. 

But instead of glamoring and gushing over a big-name manager, why doesn’t Loria make his fans happy and make a move that actually helps his team and not hurts it? 

I already mentioned that the Marlins need to make a move to appease the fanbase that has seen a team with great potential falter because the team has made bad moves throughout the years. 

Now, Loria needs to make own to appease his players too, to show them that he cares about the team just as much as he cares about getting baseball celebrities in his shiny new ballpark.

It’s a pretty simple PR move to make, trade for that star player if he becomes available, David Wright is one obvious example. 

This Donald Trumpism just has to end, if you’re going to be a second coming of George Steinbrenner at least go after the big players and not the big managers or coaches. 

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Florida Marlins Ace Josh Johnson Placed on DL with Shoulder Inflammation

Despite a victory from the Florida Marlins last night, the team received a loss off it when Josh Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of right shoulder inflammation.

The injury is not related to the line drive hit off his forearm in his last start that came against the New York Mets, which happened to be delayed by a soggy infield caused by rain earlier that Tuesday. Johnson had not warmed up until the game was officially scheduled to be held; however, his velocity was down to 91 mph on his fastball.  

Johnson was shut down last season because of back problems. It is a familiar place for Johnson, who missed parts of the 2007 and 2008 seasons after Tommy John surgery.

Johnson led the NL with a 2.30 ERA last season and was tied with the Cardinals‘ Jaime Garcia with a 1.64 mark this season and his second with a 0.98 WHIP.

This now puts the pressure on the struggling Javier Vazquez to pitch better since the team is currently lacking internal options for starters. Sean West and Alex Sanabia are both dealing with injuries of their own.

The Marlins have called up reliever Jay Buente to replace Johnson in the rotation.

Buente was 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in five starts since moving into the rotation at Triple-A New Orleans. He made his major league debut for the Marlins last season, putting up a 6.55 ERA in eight relief appearances.

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Florida Marlins: Front Office Should Make a Splash, Trade for Mets’ David Wright

Already, the Florida Marlins are in excellent shape to make a run at the postseason for the first time since 2003. The Marlins have gotten a Cy Young worthy performance out of Josh Johnson and solid outings out of Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez, who nearly repeated his gem from 2006. Yet, they’re still waiting on Chris Volstad and Javier Vazquez to follow suit.

The bullpen has been tremendous, leading MLB in ERA (1.63) and BAA (.178), as of Saturday, they are one of two teams that has yet to blow a save this season (Dodgers). 

The starting lineup has gotten surprises from Logan Morrison, leading the team in home runs and RBIs despite now being out for the next two to three weeks with a foot injury, Gaby Sanchez, Emilio Bonifacio and even Brett Hayes.

Nevertheless, they have yet to get production from their best bats in Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton who are seemingly closing in on breaking out of their slumps; this makes the Marlins even scarier.

With all that said everything seems well with the Marlins but even the front office knows they are missing a piece. If you remember before the season started, the front office tried to make a splash by going after Rangers infielder Michael Young.

Such trade talks fell through mainly because Texas was asking for a lot in return for the 34-year-old and paying roughly half his salary ($16 million per season until 2013).  

Of course, the Marlins bowed out of the race, but hold on, why stop there? If the Marlins really are interested in going after Michael Young, a two-time Gold Glover, why don’t they go after a much “younger” version in Mets third baseman David Wright? 

Currently, the Marlins third baseman of future, Matt Dominguez is nursing a fractured elbow he suffered on April 1st in a Triple-A game and that has delayed his call-up to the major leagues. Many have blessed Dominguez for his Gold Glover caliber defense at third, it’s something that the Marlins love about him, but can he hit? 

In the minors, Dominguez has a .257 career batting average with 46 home runs and 219 RBI in 375 games. The Marlins want to give him the chances he can to succeed but if there is a chance to get to the World Series this season and even next season, is the team really going to the let that opportunity slip away?

Back in 2003, the Marlins had to deal their first overall draft pick Adrian Gonzalez to the Texas Rangers for Ugueth Urbina, who helped the Marlins on their way on their second World Series title in franchise history. 

In 2008, the Marlins could have pulled the trigger and traded for Manny Ramirez and potentially gone to the postseason at the cost of slugger Mike Stanton who would be a Red Sox. Yet the team knew Stanton can hit and was a physical specimen having played football in addition to baseball in high school. 

So we shouldn’t be surprised if the Marlins decide to do the unthinkable, but this time the front office needs to reward its fans and needs to show them that they are serious about making a run at the postseason and entering the new stadium with a World Series trophy. 

Considering the possibility that the Mets could be dealing Jose Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez, and Carlos Beltran during the season to rebuild means David Wright will follow and the Marlins can’t afford to let it slip by and have a Phillies or Braves team swoop in and snag him.

David Wright is signed through the 2013 season, getting paid $14 million this season, $15 million in 2012, and a $16 million team option ($1 million buyout). 

Yes, the salary numbers are awfully similar to that of Michael Young’s, but Wright is six years younger than Young (Wright is 28 years of age), and perhaps entering the prime of his career. 

The Marlins currently have shortstop Hanley Ramirez signed through 2014 and their ace pitcher Josh Johnson signed through 2013. It only makes sense for the Marlins to go after David Wright, and if they fail to make a deep run, they can always cash in via draft pick compensation or a trade which the Marlins have done with their best players throughout the years. 

If the Marlins want to make it to the postseason, let alone the World Series, they need to make a splash with the fans, and what better way than with a leader in the clubhouse, a five-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover who would cement the Fish as legitimate contenders. 

It might cost the Marlins a Gold Glove caliber infielder in Matt Dominguez, a promising everyday outfielder in Scott Cousins, and perhaps a solid infielder in Osvaldo Martinez but the Marlins owe to the fans and themselves to go after and acquire a player like David Wright and make it worth their while. 

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